Vermont’s highest pond, which sits above Smugglers Notch Ski Resort, has recently been stocked with 300 brook trout. The trouts got a lift up to the pond on one of the best ski lifts in the east, Sterling lift. Below is more info on the stocking from Hugh Johnson.
Thanks for tuning in! This is Mike Chait filling in for Hugh while we enjoy another beautiful summer at Smugglers’. I’ve got an interesting little story for you today!
During my many years at Smuggs, I’ve had a chance to ride the lift with some interesting folks. There’s a lot you can learn while riding the chair and holding a conversation with a complete stranger. Often I’ve found I have a lot in common with my lift-riding partner.
This past week, I had a different experience than I’m used to. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to ride the chair again, this time in a T-shirt, tagging along with Mountain Operations as they took care of a yearly task. But I didn’t have the chance to talk much on the chair. And there was nobody for me to listen to. No friendly conversation about how long we’ve been coming to Smuggs, no discussion of our favorite trails. Just silence.
I was riding up with a bunch of fish. Yeah, like the kind that swim. Brook trout, to be exact. Each year, Smugglers’ Mountain Operations team works together with Vermont’s Dept. of Fish and Wildlife to stock the Sterling Pond with hundreds of little swimmers. It’s quite the adventure for these little fishies!
The truck arrives with our special guests in tow. From there, bag-lined cans are filled with water. Fish are added to their new (temporary) vessel of transport, and a special shot of oxygen is introduced to calm their nerves. Brook trout are notorious for having a fear of heights, so the more we can do to keep them happy, the better chance they’ll have of loving their new home at the top of Sterling Mountain.
So, why the chairlift? Well, it’s the smoothest way to bring these little guys to the top without shaking them up too much. 9 minutes in the air and they’ve arrived at their unload station. From here, it’s a short ride on the back of a four-wheeler to the pond, where they are introduced to their new accommodations at the highest trout pond in the state of Vermont.
If you haven’t been up to Sterling Pond in the warmer months, it’s a must. Access comes from either the Smugglers’ Notch parking area at the top of Route 108, or by hiking up the ski trails on Sterling. This large body of water sits comfortably above 3000ft in elevation and has a fun trail running around it called the Elephant’s Head Trail. The scenery is gorgeous and it makes a great place for a picnic or family outing, whether you enjoy fishing or not!